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Preached by Kua Wee Seng on Sunday, July 9th, 2017
My parents were poor farmers who migrated from southern China to Singapore in the late 1940s. They were traditional Chinese religious believers who worshipped our ancestors and all kind of gods. I grew up joining them in ancestral and idol worship. I did not know any Christians except for one neighbour.
One Christmas, when I was about nine years old, my neighbour invited me to a Christmas party at a nearby Anglican church. As I had never been to a church or celebrated Christmas, I was curious and decided to go to the party. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the gifts given out at the end. But I noticed that the church gave nicer gifts to the regular Sunday School students. While visitors received pencils and erasers, the regular Sunday School students received toy cars and dolls! From that day onwards, I decided to attend Sunday School weekly – for the sake of the Christmas gifts at end of the year. I am an Accountant by profession and my accounting brain was already working at a young age. What a good deal! You get to enjoy Bible stories and sing songs every Sunday, and you get rewarded with a nice gift each year.
When I was 14, I began to think about death and the meaning of life. My grandmother was growing weak. I loved her and wondered where she would go after death. What was the meaning of life if we all ended up in the netherworld after death? My search for meaning in life led me to read the Gospels afresh. I was given a copy of Good News for Modern Man. Little did I know then that the Lord would later lead me to join UBS, of which the American Bible Society was a member and the translator and publisher of this groundbreaking translation of the Holy Scriptures. ….
I read the four Gospels over three months and I was confronted by the Lord through the Gospel accounts. I cried, “Lord, I’m not sure whether you are truly God, but if you are, I want to believe in you and to follow you!” That night, I knelt beside my bed and accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour. When I wanted to be baptised, my parents refused to give me permission. Although they had allowed me to go to Sunday School, they believed that once I was baptised I would not be able to participate in ancestral and idol worship and pray for them and burn offerings to them when they would depart to the netherworld. It is considered most unfilial for a Chinese not to look after one’s parents, both while they are living and when they are in the netherworld.
By God’s grace, my parents eventually relented. The main reason for their decision was because they saw a change in my life and they were afraid that I would lapse back to my former life. I grew up with and was involved in a small neighbourhood gang. We would cheat, steal and fight. As I became more involved in church, I gradually left the gang. If not for Christ and the Grace of God, I would have ended up like some of them. One went into drugs and another continued to steal.
Some two decades after my conversion experience, when I was invited to serve with the UBS in China ministry, I recalled how the Lord had used his Word to draw me to himself, changing my life and my destiny forever. I accepted the invitation to serve at Amity Press, to be involved in printing and distributing Bibles in China. I believe the Word of God is as powerful as ever and it could impact lives in China, and I wanted to do what I could to spread the Word of God and the gospel of Christ in the land of my parents and my forebears, so that millions of Chinese would be delivered from darkness to marvellous light and from death to eternal life. God’s Word is indeed the Living Hope for All.